QuikTrip’s Secret of Success

Highly selective hiring process chooses the best candidates, rewards them with the best benefits.

April 08, 2015

TULSA, Okla. – The hiring process is one that QuikTrip takes very seriously, and it’s a key reason why the Tulsa-based convenience store chain consistently ranks among the best companies to work for in the United States. A reporter from Tulsa World set out to get to know the company better to find out what their secret is.

Every year since 2003, the company has made Fortune magazine’s top 100 companies to work for, coming in at No. 54 this year, and Forbes ranked QuikTrip 304 out of 500 companies in its list of “America’s Best Employers.”

One major factor that sets QuikTrip apart: its personnel. The company’s hiring process is as detailed as a clerk’s job description, and only the best are hired, just over one out of every 100 applicants. The company offers competitive pay — store managers earn $70,000 a year — and benefits, advancement opportunities and college tuition assistance.

With more than 700 stores in 11 states, QuikTrip instills its culture of high standards — such as calculating change faster than the cash register or being quick on your feet while juggling multiple tasks — once a worker is hired.

“It’s a place where you feel comfortable (as a customer),” NACS Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Jeff Lenard told Tulsa World. “It’s a place where you feel you belong, and to do that, you start with people. You start with people that greet you and mean it. And they like their jobs.”

According to spokesman Mike Thornbrugh, QuikTrip received more than 200,000 job applications last year. From the start of 2014 to the end of March 2015, the company added 3,100 to its payroll of about 18,000 workers nationwide. Those numbers break down like this: Just under 17,000 people seek employment each month at QuikTrip but only 206 are hired. The company’s turnover rate of 8% is one of the lowest in the industry and they haven’t laid off an employee since QuikTrip was founded in 1958.

Prospective employees must first take a test, be interviewed and go through a four- to eight-hour orientation, depending on their position. Part-time employees are paired with a trainer for one to two weeks before they are assigned to a store. And while new employees aren’t expected to be as fast as someone who’s been on the job for months, they should keep up with the store’s fast pace, multitask and provide good customer service.

“We have a pretty intensive screening process,” Brady Walker, Tulsa division personnel manager, told Tulsa World. “We’re really selective of the employees we bring on. If you can find the people who have that personality — that ability to work hard and multitask and take care of customers — that makes the training a whole lot easier.”

Store employees have to be able to count return change in their head rather than depend on a register and must be ready to stop whatever they’re doing to help someone or check out a customer. QuikTrip aims to have no more than three customers waiting in line at a register.

To promote good customer service, QuikTrip rewards employees with bonuses based on secret shopper feedback. A big part of the company’s culture is how many of its high-ranking employees were once clerks in a neighborhood store.